Edited by Natalie De Paz
A Good Night Out is one of Steel City Improv Theater’s flagship shows. It is a show that features local, up-and-coming stand-up comedians as well as original character performances. Deric Brown is the producer of A Good Night Out. We interviewed him about his own comedic style as well as his experience producing A Good Night Out, and his vision for the show’s future. Our conversation has been edited.
Tell us about your journey as a comedian and about your own style as a stand-up comic.
I have been a fan of stand-up since I was young. I would choose to watch stand-up over cartoons often as a kid. My stand-up career started in my junior year of college in 2011 while attending VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). The story behind the start of my comedy career is that I went to an open mic with my friends and they randomly decided to do stand-up and they did well. So out of pure jealousy combined with my competitive side getting the better of me, I decided to follow in their footsteps. I spent a couple of weeks writing, then hit the stage and it was one of the greatest feelings in the world.
I would describe my stand-up style as observational, surreal humor mixed with anxiety.
You’re on the independent improv team Crocodile’s Dilemma (which performs monthly at SCIT). How does improv inform your stand-up and vice versa?
Improv informs my stand-up in multiple ways. It makes me very comfortable riffing/writing on stage. Performing improv makes going on stage with your mind clear/empty, not a scary thing. One way stand-up informs my improv is that it makes it easy to read the crowd, which helps to figure out which way to take a scene. Bombing while doing improv in front of a crowd at an improv theater doesn’t even compare to bombing on stage while doing stand-up. An improv audience is more forgiving than a stand-up audience. Improv audiences give the benefit of the doubt, they say, ‘Hey, they are making it up on the spot.’ Whereas doing bad in front of a stand-up audience, the audience hates everything about you, and it is extremely personal.
What inspired you to bring characters and stand-ups together, and where did the name A Good Night Outcome from?
I wanted to shake things up in the stand-up scene. Most stand-up shows that I have been a part of have had the same formula: host, then an okay comedian, then a better comedian, and finally the best comedian of the night. I wanted to make a show that is like a mixture of Conan and The Eric Andre Show. Building a strange following of outcasts who have the same humor that I do was really important to me. The name of the show, A Good Night Out, came about from the idea that our show will either be the start to your fantastic night or the end to your great night like a dessert… or like when your grandma drinks a nightcap before going to bed.
Describe the dynamic between you and Lorenzo, your co-host.
The dynamic with Lorenzo is strange, but we have chemistry together. There are times I look at Lorenzo as a little brother. Then there are times that I look at Lorenzo as a fifty-five-year-old divorced man stuck inside the body of someone in their early 20s. A lot of people compare us to Micheal Che and Colin Joost (of Saturday Night Live). I think we’re more like a character from a Wes Anderson film (the kid in Rushmore) and Micheal Che.
Lorenzo is one of my favorite comedians in Pittsburgh and being able to work with him creatively is great.
Tell us one of your most memorable moments producing or hosting A Good Night Out.
I can’t narrow it down to one so I have two. The first memorable moment would be the November show where we decided to have our own Macy’s Day parade inside the theater at SCIT. We made our own floats and balloons with items that represented the show. My favorite balloon/floats are the float we did for the movie Call Me By Your Name and the other one was a character we created for that show named Agnostic Adam. The second memorable moment was Lorenzo’s birthday, during which I would gift him items of people who were #canceled as a prank. Some of the items were a Micheal Jackson t-shirt, the movie K-PAX starring Kevin Spacey, an autobiography of Bill Cosby, and an invitation to a Jefferey Epstein party.
Of course, we are grateful for all our audience members, anyone willing to give us a chance to make them laugh. But tell us anyway— Who is your ideal audience member for A Good Night Out?
The ideal audience members are people who listen to murder podcasts, baristas, fans of The Golden Girls. Honestly, I have seen people in their 60s in the audience have a great time as well as teenagers with their parents. Since our show changes theme from month to month, we reach a wide audience.
What’s your vision for the future of A Good Night Out?
I have a big vision for the show, I think the show would make a great podcast and YouTube show. My overall goal is to build a community around the show where we can have ongoing storylines, characters, and running jokes. Being a fan of a show is like speaking and understanding another language that only a few people know.
Be sure to join us for A Good Night Out this Saturday, February 22 at 8PM.